The Silent Parent
Jul 25, 2000
Earlier today I read an editorial about a lady who ignored her son's bad behavior at a family function. I don't remember the title but I do know that the author was Cruisin. She has inspired me to writing this review.
First let me say that I do NOT believe that every parent is excused for ignoring the behaviors of their children. And that I am in no way making excuses for the parents that simply do not care about their children's behavior.
That said, let me admit to something that I never thought that I would ever admit to. I was once considered a "bad" parent! I know that the first thing that you are asking is, "Why?". So, let me go ahead and answer that before I continue. I was, what I call, a "silent" parent. Pretty much in public I didn't work as hard at being a good mom as I did at home. People saw this and interpretted this pretty badly. Not that I blame them. Looking back I can see where I went wrong.
Now, "Why were you a "silent" parent?" you may be asking. Well, three main reasons. 1. I had very little confidence in myself as a parent. 2. At home my kids only heard me. 3. I felt I was in severe need of a break.
1. With my first son I had no difficulties in disciplining him and he responded well to my methods. When I had my second son I fell victim to the thought that if I used the same methods then things will be just as easy. Boy was I wrong! I completely lost my confidence as a mother because it didn't dawn on me that not all children respond to the same methods of discipline in the same way. In public I would use this time to watch how other adults interacted with my child and see what he responded to in a positive way.
2. At home my kids only heard me telling them the same things over and over again. I felt that if they only heard me saying these things then they won't take their importance seriously. I just knew that if they heard other adults say the same things then maybe they would listen to me more since so-and-so's mom or dad said the same thing.
3. I was trying everything that I possibly could at home to get my children (mostly second child) to behave better. I felt that I was at my witts end most of the time. Whenever we were invited to someones house for any reason I would look at it as a much needed break! I felt that when I let other people discipline my child TOO, then I can worry less and actually breathe!
Yes, I see the wrong in this now. For a while I just couldn't figure out why weren't being invited to as many events as before. But that all changed one sunny day at a friends birthday party.
My best friend gently took me aside and told me flat out that what I was doing was wrong! "Dawnna, I love you and I love your children, but you have to help with your children. We can't do it all for you." (Those may not have been the exact words but that is closest that I remember it.) I explained to her my reasons and she stated that she understood and that she would be happy to help but that I can't just sit around and do nothing.
This was a real eye-opener for me. I am very glad that someone pointed out the error of my ways. And the only thing that I can say is that I don't think anyone wants to intentionally be a "bad" or "silent" parent. If you know anyone that is like this please know that most have reasons behind it even if you don't understand them. The best way to rectify this is to approach the person if you know them well, or if you don't have someone close to them do it.
Don't call them names, and try not to put it in a way that makes them feel worse than they have to. Even I felt betrayed when first I was confronted, but I got over it and saw where I messed up. Don't just ignore the parent. Ignoring them doesn't do anything but lets the parent think that what they are doing is acceptable. And they will never know the type of parent that they are portraying themselves to be. After all they can not read your mind.